– Disgruntled Student, Nikolas Cruz Was Expelled From Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School For Disciplinary Reasons.
According to Broward County, Florida Sheriff, Scott Israel; 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was taken into police custody by officers in Coconut Creek after killing 17 people and wounding at least 14 more to some degree.
Sheriff Israel further stated that the Broward County Sheriffs Department and the FBI would be conducting the crime scene investigations’ “and the follow-ups to this horrific, horrific event.”
“As I said before this incident truly makes me sick to my stomach. It’s horrible, catastrophic. As I said before my triplets attend.. graduated from Stoneman Douglas High and it’s just horrible, absolutely horrible and we will continually ask you in the media to put out the message if you see something say something. If anybody has any indicator that someone’s going through a behavioral change or on their social media that there are disturbing photos; perhaps bombs or firearms or just, you know, videos or pictures that are just not right, that there’s something. Please let law enforcement know about it.”
Sheriff Israel said that the victims were a mixture of students and adults. “I don’t know if there were any teachers but there will be… there are certainly students [involved in the shooting] there are certainly adults. One witness told reporters that her teacher Mr. Beagle (sp?) was shot and they had to see him lying on the floor that way for half an hour before the classroom was evacuated by SWAT teams.
“Our investigators have begun to dissect the social media and looking at the website and … Nikolas Cruz was the killer, he is in custody and we’ve already begun to dissect his websites and social media that he was on. Some of the things that have come to mine are very disturbing.”
What is known so far is that shortly after 2 pm EST, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who had been expelled for disciplinary issues, donned a gas mask and pulled the fire alarm at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There had been an organized fire drill earlier so students were responding to what they must think was a second fire drill which is not an unknown occurrence; but especially not in this day and age.
As the students with their teachers shepherding them out of the classrooms and towards their assigned evacuation zones, Cruz opened fire on them with an AR-15 style assault rifle. Killing 17 persons, and wounding a dozen or more.
Phones were in many hands as a matter of course as multiple shots rang out in quick succession. One witness said it sounded like someone ‘banging trash cans’ about. Many children were texting with their friends. some were checking their emails, some were blogging, some were on Facebook and some were on Twitter tweeting away as they are wont to do. The word quickly spread and panic ensued. 40 kids are dead or shot and bleeding. Backpacks are abandoned where they fall and hundreds of screaming teenage students run for their lives. Many cameras were rolling and capturing still life images of terror and shock.
2 hours later the shooter, who made his escape by blending into the crowd of fleeing students, was apprehended in nearby Coconut Creek without a fight. Wounded but still very much alive Nikolas Cruz (unlike the usual suspects), will live to stand trial. Provided of course that he doesn’t meet with some ill fate or other before he is brought before the bar of justice. There to answer to the people for his actions and to pay the piper accordingly.
A student who told ABC News that he participated in Junior ROTC with Cruz described him as a “psycho.” Cruz was a well-known weapons enthusiast, the student said, who once tried to sell knives to a classmate. That same classmate turned Cruz in, to the principal of Stoneman Douglas High.
Already there are a goodly number of “disturbing” images and statements in the social media world of, Nikolas Cruz- Professional school shooter. Equally disturbing to my own conscience are the statements of those who knew Nik Cruz the best, his classmates.
Everyone is now asking, why? The answer is, as Jiminy Cricket would say, “Is as plain as the nose on your face.” Surely we can see that it is so and this is because of who we have become as a society. Or so it seems to me. But I’m just an inspector, not a judge. Anymore. Even so, it’s not a matter of gun control but rather one of self-control. Or a lack thereof. In the case of Nikolas Cruz, there was clearly something lacking.
His adoptive father died when Nikolas was 5 years old and his mother was recently taken from him by the flu. My heart goes out to him for his tragic losses but the question yet remains of how this may have contributed to the events of yesterday? The answer, however, is irrelevant to the outcome. What’s done is done and will not be undone but we know that this too, even the pain, shall pass.
Some have opined in the media that this tragedy occurred because Mr. Cruz was not spanked, or otherwise violently disciplined as a child, by his parents. The people of the Lakota Nation are known for never spanking their children and still, they somehow manage to raise them to think and act as human beings for centuries. This truth debunks that theory altogether.
This is the 18th school shooting this year and the 3rd worst in history. I was in downtown Denver building an elevator silo connecting the steel on the top for Owens-Corning on April 20th, 1999. I saw the swarm of helicopters over Aurora that day. We recall those images and those from subsequent school shootings that followed like Virginia Tech. My girlfriend in Virginia was a V-Tech business school graduate. These shootings are close to home for everyone. Sutherland, Texas is another one. Who will beat the standing high score and become the new record holder? http://listverse.com/2008/01/01/top-10-worst-school-massacres/ Nikolas Cruz just made #3 with a bullet.
The point is that it hits close to home for all of us. The difference this time, however, was in our response to what Sheriff Israel called, “a horrific homicidal, detestable act.” And rightly so.
It used to be a rule of thumb that we’re but 3 degrees of separation from knowing or being related to everyone else on the planet. With the advent of Facebook and the proliferation other social media such as Twitter https://twitter.com/ and Fubar http://fubar.com/home.php, that rule has changed by taking a giant step forward. Now there are only 2 degrees of separation as we are connected on a historically unprecedented level by the internet.
20 of my Facebook friends know 20 of my friends who know 20 of their friends and so on so on so forth. This time it was almost like being there, in Parkland, as the tragedy unfolded. The sound the gunfire rings over and over in one’s ears and resonates in one’s conscience. I can certainly hear it.
This time there was an immediate and assertive response by the Broward County Sheriff’s department and local law enforcement agencies. They quickly ascertained the suspects’ description and immediate location. Then they rushed in where angels might fear to tread to place, if possible, themselves between the unknown subject and the victims. Parents were in close contact with their children texting messages of love and concern for their safety and that of their classmates. Some received no answer.
This comes close on the heels of the shooting in Las Vegas October 1st. I was at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas having a kidney removed while President Trump waved to cameras across town at UMC.
There I met several of the victims of that incident, all of the Metro police officers who were wounded were on that same floor as well. One of them, a Sargeant, sat with me for several hours and we discussed the shooting in depth. While he was there he helped one of the victims locate the woman who had picked her and several others up in her own vehicle and driven them to Sunrise Hospital where over 200 cases were seen that night. She was an off-duty police officer. Again it hits close to home. Again, the response was inspiring.
The first responders who faced this crisis are to be commended for their selfless acts of bravery in the face of fire and for the professionalism shown in dealing with a deadly situation and getting the children and faculty to safety. This does not, however, excuse the fact of the initial oversight of the inevitability of this event. Nor does it bear dwelling on as it serves no purpose.
What’s done is done and the hope is that the lessons learned yesterday in Parkland, Florida will remain with us and make us a closer national community unified in our belief in a Higher power and the subsequent responsibility of every human being to reach out to children like Nikolas Cruz, and help them to find their way in society. So many surely would have done so had they but known, and yet so many who did know looked away while others cried foul. There’s plenty of blame to go around but to what purpose?
The only purpose served here should be that of moving forward both as a people and as a nation. It should be our purpose that we the people will no longer turn away from those who are disturbed to the extent of a Nikolas Cruz without intervention by anyone whatsoever. We can no longer ignore the mental health crisis that affects so many citizens in the United States nor the fact that it is a progressive disease and it is not going to cure itself.
These children are our friends and our families . They’re our family’s friends and our friends families. And this is what happens when we look away.
President Trump tweeted; “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.” Then later Tweeted: “No child teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
ABC News’ Maureen Sheeran, Kathy Conway and Dylan Goetz contributed to this report.
PHOTO: Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is escorted out of a hospital and into a police car. (WPLG)